There are few places that I walk into and immediately wish that I could take everything home with me. Totokaelo in Capitol Hill is one of those shops. Jill Wenger started Totokaelo in Seattle in 2003 and her vision has grown from a single specialty of women's fashion, footwear and accessories to three distinct creative entities. Totokaelo ArtObject opened in May of 2012 and Totokaelo MAN followed in March 2013. Wenger's reach extends far beyond our local Seattle streets, with all three dimensions of Totokaelo offering merchandise online.
In an 01 Magazine interview by Jennifer Latour and Jennilee Marigomen, Wenger describes how the name Totokaelo (pronounced "TOH-toh-KYE-oh") came about with some help from her close friend Mark Kinkaid of FOG New York.
"I wanted a new word, a blank slate. Something fresh that didn't have perceptions or meaning already associated with it. And I wanted to like how it sounds...The roots are Latin. Toto means Total and Caelo means Sky. Total Sky. It's a Latin expression roughly translated as 'The shell of the sky and all of the heavens'. Western translation 'The sky is the limit.'"
Although my list could reach the sky, the number 10 is my limit for sharing some of my favorite ArtObjects that can be found inside this bright, light-filled shop.
- Olmstead Chair handmade Totokaelo-exclusive lounge chair
- Sculpture 17 black and neon pink prism sculpture by Phillip Low
- One of a kind hand woven boucherouite rug from Morocco
- Spirit Small Wall Display by Julie Thevenot
- White Water Pitcher by Adónde
- A handmade wall hanging by Heather Levine
- Organic cotton Kontex towels
- Black and white Triangle Tiny Cup by Hakusan by Mori
- Large Asymmetric Bowl by ANNTIAN
- Any of the creative magazines that Totokaelo has in stock
This sentence on Totokaelo's About page speaks to me.
"We believe the art and objects a person chooses for their life are a reflection of values and perspective."
In many ways our stories are represented by the objects that surround us in our homes and our lives. The things that we choose to pay attention to, the items we collect, the mementos we bring home from our travels are tactile ways that we express who we are, what we love, and where we've been.